ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS
WHAT IS SPECIAL OLYMPICS?
Special Olympics is a global organization that exists to highlight the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. While we are a sports-focused and competitive-focused organization, our benefits go well beyond the boundaries of the playing field. Research has shown that athletes who participate in Special Olympics are better equipped to hold jobs, live on their own and complete day to day tasks that their non-playing counterparts, physical benefits, social benefits, and more!
WHEN DID NORTHAMPTON COUNTY SPECIAL OLYMPICS START?
Northampton County Special Olympics began in 1976 in partnership with Colonial Intermediate Unit 20. We are 1 of 55 accredited programs under the Special Olympics PA umbrella. With over 1,000 athletes, Northampton County Special Olympics is one of the largest programs in the state.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTY SPECIAL OLYMPICS?
Our mission at Northampton County Special Olympics is to change lives through sports. We are very dedicated to providing athletes with special programs that allow them to participate in lifetime sports and allow them to engage in social activities.
HOW IS NORTHAMPTON COUNTY SPECIAL OLYMPICS FUNDED?
Northampton County Special Olympics has full financial responsibilities for all practices competitions, after school programs, state games, sectionals, ribbons, equipment and transportation to state and sectional events and much more. Funding is obtained through donations from generous individuals and community businesses. In addition we host several major fundraisers throughout the year, including the annual Lehigh Valley Polar Plunge in January and a Golf Tournament in June.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN SPECIAL OLYMPICS?
Northampton County Special Olympics is open to School-aged students who have an identified intellectual disability or cognitive delay. You do not need to be a Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 student or classroom to participate. All district students and classrooms are welcome. The Young Athletes Program offers younger athletes (ages 2 ½ - 7) the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to participate in our School Based Program, while our Community Based Programs allow school-aged students and past graduates the opportunity to further develop their skills.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS LOGO?
The logo has five people who each have six arms. The down position means "downtrodden", remembering a time when many people thought those with intellectual disabilities were not able to make good decisions or try new things. This often describes the lives of athletes before they became involved in Special Olympics. Many had few friends and spent most of their time alone. The straight arms mean "equal", showing that our athletes are just like everyone else. The raised arms represent "joy", and realizing ultimate goals. The five people represent the five continents involved in Special Olympics at the time the logo was created. The people are placed in a circle to represent the world as there are Special Olympic athletes and volunteers in almost every country around the globe.